We’re still roughly five months away from the 2021 NFL season, but it’s never too early to look at season win totals. What is interesting this year is that some of the win totals seem inflated. You have to remember though, the league is moving to a 17-game schedule.
That said, here’s a look at Coach Rick’s top five NFL win totals for 2021.
Pittsburgh Steelers OVER 8.5 Wins (-105)
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Preview
There will be plenty of bettors that get sucked in to taking the Under on the Steelers. Pittsburgh started last season 11-0 and then the wheels fell off the Black-and-Gold bus as the team lost five of its last six games, including the wild card playoff to Cleveland.
For all that think that will carry over into 2021, don’t believe the hype. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season in 14 years as Steelers head coach. The defense will keep Pittsburgh in games and 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger will continue to run an explosive Steelers offense.
Pittsburgh will need to figure out how to run the ball – they finished last in the league in rushing in 2020 – but Tomlin will find a way for the Steelers to win at least nine games.
Los Angeles Rams OVER 10 Wins (-115)
Los Angeles Rams Team Preview
The Rams won 10 games last season in the NFL’s toughest division. The NFC West will once again present a difficult proposition, but the Rams have upgraded at quarterback bringing in Matthew Stafford.
Stafford, a strong running game, and the NFL’s best defense will result in another double-digit win season. Remember, the Rams have a three-time Defensive Player of the Year in Aaron Donald and All- Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
It helps that the Rams non-division schedule includes Detroit, Jacksonville, and the New York Giants.
Houston Texans UNDER 4.5 Wins (-130)
Houston Texans Team Preview
Texans QB Deshaun Watson had his best NFL season in 2020. Houston won four games. The roster has turned over. There are limited weapons for Watson, if he is even able to play in 2021. Watson is facing 22 lawsuits related to sexual assault and harassment.
If not Watson, Houston is likely to go with journeyman Tyrod Taylor under center. How will Houston win more than four games with Taylor at quarterback? Short answer is they won’t.
Dallas Cowboys UNDER 9.5 Wins (-115)
Dallas Cowboys Team Preview
The NFC East, aka the NFC Least, was won by Washington last year which finished with a 7-9 record. The Cowboys finished 6-10 in head coach Mike McCarthy’s first season. The defense was awful and the Cowboys are looking for new coordinator Dan Quinn to change that.
Dallas did sign QB Dak Prescott, but his health as well as that of Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, La’el Collins, and Blake Jarwin is a huge concern. The bigger concern is the schedule. The Cowboys went just 2-4 in the division last year. Even if they improve slightly against division opponents, Dallas must play non- division games at New Orleans, at New England, at Tampa Bay, and at Kansas City.
Getting to nine wins will be hard enough for Dallas. Getting 10? Not with this roster.
New York Jets UNDER 6 Wins (-115)
New York Jets Team Preview
A Jets overhaul – new coach, new quarterback, etc. – will not be enough to save the Jets from the AFC East basement where New York has seemingly had a reservation in four of the last five seasons. The new head coach is Robert Saleh and the Jets QB is likely to be BYU’s Zach Wilson.
Rookie quarterbacks usually have a rough go of it. Saleh will have the Jets defense playing better and New York will probably be better than their 2-14 mark last season. The problem is that they won’t be good enough to win six games.